Ave Maria, Florida is the 21st century example of the success of the movement towards religious tolerance that has been waged in the United States since the Plymouth Colony. The ability to live life without the constraints of religious oppression or discrimination is a pillar of American identity. Ave Maria, Florida is a great concept to integrate into the American desire to life, work, learn, educate and pray together in a common faith community. Throughout our American history there have been movements of faithful assemblies directed towards living communal lives dedicated to common religious beliefs. The Puritans, the Quakers, the Amish,the Mormons and many other sectarian groups have successfully developed communities and contributed to the American concept of freedom of religious expression.
Ave Maria, Florida is another project aimed at integrating Catholic moral teachings into a community of like believers in Southwest Florida. In the secular press this week there have been claims that the nascent metropolis will pose difficulties in the proper balance between Church and State. Some advocates such as ACLU are already getting ready to fight a battle against the town if it’s residents are not offered contraceptive options, right to choice decisions or any form of discrimination against same sex couples and so on. Well from a Catholic perspective…don’t live or visit Ave Maria, Florida if following Catholic teachings presents a problem for your lifestyle. There really is no discrimination going on in this town. Just a group of fellow Catholics choosing to live and work and worship together with a town predisposed to living a Catholic identity.
It is very interesting to notice that anti-Catholic sentiments are always just below the surface and rise up when in public mind something Catholic begins to happen in the secular community. Perhaps there would be no issues involved if Ave Maria, Florida were located in the distraught urban centers of Philadelphia, Detroit, New York or Chicago. Maybe opponents would not have any issues if the concept of a religious “like” group of peoples were organized by Warren Buffett or Bill Gates.
However, Tom Monighan, a Catholic conceived and developed this city, and now there must be a Catholic conspiracy developing against our American lifestyle!
What a crock! If this community were planned for Salt Lake City there would be no backlash against the Mormon community. If the community were developed exclusively for the Amish in Southeastern Pennsylvania no one would mind or if there were minarets erected to hearken the Islamic call to prayer in New York City there would not be a word spoken against the project.
However because the concept and development of a city based upon Catholic Christian principles is happening there are concerns of civil libertarians.
Well then DON”T visit.
The beautiful thing about the freedom of religious expression and the ability to worship in the United States is this…you don’t have to worship against your ideals and religious principles. If a Catholic city bothers you, then worship in Idaho, or Nebraska, or Utah or really anywhere else you would like. Just don’t go to visit Ave Maria, Florida and ruin their location and expressions of religious freedom.
Perhaps the whole matter is still rooted in the anti-Catholic sentiment that still runs rampant in the United States. During the endless barrage of political verbiage Catholic moral and social teachings are the popular subjects of discontent among American politicians. Even politicians that claim Catholic faith get themselves involved with issues that negatively reflect the Catholic Church’s true views and teachings.
Ave Maria, Florida offers a unique opportunity for Catholic Americans to experience a living community that is determined to observe Gospel values. Congratulations to the founder and the courgeous residents.. Living a Catholic Christian moral life is not something that should be feared. It should be applauded. The diversity of the American dream in religious toleration is an ideal that all Americans should strive towards.
If Ave Maria, Florida needs an opinion/editorial writer, teacher and technologies consultant that also happens to be Catholic…I’ll be there.

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